Edmonds Community College to host free film screening and discussion to honor Japanese American WWII Veterans

Edmonds Community College will host a free film screening and discussion to honor Japanese American World War II veterans at the Black Box Theatre on Thursday, February 20, 2020, beginning at 3:00 pm.

From a February 12, 2020, Edmonds Community College news release.

Edmonds Community College will host a free film screening and discussion to honor Japanese American World War II veterans at the Black Box Theatre on Thursday afternoon, February 20th, beginning at 3:00 pm.

The screening will include the films “Honor & Sacrifice: The Roy Matsumoto Story” and “Proof of Loyalty: Kazuo Yamane and the Nisei Soldiers of Hawai’i.”

Lucy Ostrander and Don Sellers, who directed and produced the two movies, will speak on a panel alongside Joyce Yamane and Karen Matsumoto, daughters of the veterans featured in the films.

The event will be held one day after the national Day of Remembrance, which commemorates the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. 

“Despite losing many of their rights, despite having family members incarcerated at home, Japanese Americans still chose to fight for their country,” said Chris Szarek, director of Edmonds CC’s Veterans Resource Center. “We owe them a tremendous debt for the freedom we enjoy today.”

"The stories of Roy Matsumoto and Kazuo Yamane remind us of the strength, courage, and resilience that are within us and needed to address injustices and impact change in our work, communities, and society,” said Dr. Yvonne Terrell-Powell, vice-president of the college’s Equity and Inclusion Division.

She went on to say, “Their legacies remind us all that we must lead from where we sit, lay, or stand in order to ensure freedom, liberty, and justice for all." 

“Honor & Sacrifice” documents a Japanese immigrant family ripped apart by World War II. The Matsumoto family included five sons, two who fought for the U.S. and three who fought for Japan. The story is told by Roy's daughter, Karen, as she discovers her father's work in military intelligence, kept secret for 50 years. 

“Proof of Loyalty” tells the story of a Japanese American who played a crucial strategic role in World War II. He and his fellow Nisei — second-generation Japanese Americans — combated discrimination to serve their country. They would go on to change the course of U.S. history. The film won the Audience Choice Award, Documentary at the 2017 Asian American International Film Festival and was awarded the Legacy Award at the 2018 DisOrient Asian American Film Festival. It has been shown at numerous film festivals and has been broadcast nationally on PBS.

The screening and discussion are sponsored by the Northwest Veterans Museum and Edmonds CC’s Veterans Resource Center, Equity and Inclusion Division, and Arts, Culture, and Civic Engagement program.

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Roy Matsumoto (far right) is the subject of “Honor and Sacrifice.” He became a hero when he used his Japanese language skills and military training to save his surrounded, starving battalion deep in the Burmese jungle. Credit: Roy Matsumoto family.

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Kazuo Yamane, the subject of “Proof of Loyalty,” at the Military Intelligence Service Language School, Camp Savage, Minnesota. Credit: Courtesy of Joyce Yamane.


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